France and England deal with Piracy

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Found this on The Belmont Club: (Use BugMeNot for the NY Times registration)
Yo Ho Ho
I wish this story was from the Onion, but it's from the New York Times.
On April 11, French commandos went in with guns blazing and captured a gang of pirates who days earlier had hijacked a luxury cruise ship, the Ponant, and held the crew for ransom. This was the French solution to a crime wave that has threatened international shipping off Somalia; those of us who have been on the business end of a pirate�s gun can only applaud their action.

The British government on the other hand, to the incredulity of many in the maritime industry, has taken a curiously pathetic approach to piracy. While the French were flying six of the captured pirates to Paris to face trial, the British Foreign Office issued a directive to the once vaunted Royal Navy not to detain any pirates, because doing so could violate their human rights. British warships patrolling the pirate-infested waters off Somalia were advised that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain and that those who were returned to Somalia faced beheading for murder or a hand chopped off for theft under Islamic law.
When we use the expression 'the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath;, or when we say "the Constitution is not a death pact" it is convey the idea that laws and customs are meant for substantive ends, not merely procedural ones. Cures which kill the patient and laws which empower criminals are alike in that sight of the ultimate object of the exercise has been lost.
A bit more from the Times:
The British fear of breaching the human rights of pirates has not gone down well in the maritime community. Andrew Linington, the spokesman for Nautilus, a British-Dutch seafarers trade union, has called the Foreign Office�s policy �a get out of jail card� for pirates.

�We despair,� Mr. Linington told me. �We are meant to be a major maritime country. The U.K. is heavily dependent on maritime trade � 95 percent of trade comes and goes by sea. Yet the Foreign Office has its head in the sand. It is just wishing the problem would go away.�
That noise you hear is the sound of Horatio Nelson, Winston Churchill, and Francis Drake spinning in their graves... UPDATE: Marine Buzz has a lot of info on the French rescue.

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This page contains a single entry by DaveH published on April 20, 2008 7:47 PM.

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